Berlin-based Australian electronic duo, Ducks! landed their third album Things That Were Lost in Spring 2019.
Following up on the success of 2016’s Ding Ding Ding (nominated for the Australian Music Prize) and 2017’s Nak Nak, album number three has been a coming of age moment for Lani Bagley and Craig Schuftan. Heard as a whole, Things That Were Lost is both an engaging and instantly danceable slice of electronica.
Fans of the experimental twosome will be familiar with the playfulness ubiquitous throughout TTWL. Although Ducks! ascribe their influences to be ‘Disney and disco’, this does not make them unserious about their craft.
They have collaborated in the past with everyone from BBC Radio Four to Berlin’s irreverant podcast network, Radio Spätkauf. Even the album artwork of TTWL – a cut-out collage laid over a peaceful ocean view (perhaps inspired by the birthplace of the album in Malta) – combines fun with tranquility.
The airy reverb of Bagley’s vocals on ‘Pinprick In’ is underlaid with a buzzing bassline that would slip seamlessly into a club setting.
Album opener ‘Cut & Run”s synthesised intro and programmed, Trip-Hop beat make clear that this record is a step up from what’s come before. The airy reverb of Bagley’s vocals on ‘Pinprick In’ (Róisín Murphy anyone?) is underlaid with a buzzing bassline that would slip seamlessly into a club setting.
The album takes cues – often quite literally – from Maltese, Austrian and Berlin soundscapes. Signature rogue sounds are sprinkled throughout the tracks. Anyone who’s been inside the dome at Teufelsberg, the disused Cold War listening station south of Berlin, may recognise the echoey noises Bagley creates in ‘Shady Drawers’. Elsewhere, a friend’s delapidated, two-stringed violin provides unusual ambiance.
Schuftan’s mixing and production is at its best here in the weirder, darker moments of the hour-long LP.
Schuftan’s mixing and production is at its best here in the weirder, darker moments of the hour-long LP. The trance-like opening repetition of ‘Green Meadow Yellow Meadow (featuring Luckless)’ (“Twenty paces into the centre is where the body’s buried“) perfectly mirrors this mood. An honourable mention here should also go to the funk-laden single ‘Top Horse’, with its already infamous “A sexy blonde talks about a white horse in a bathtub” refrain.
Ducks! play a live set at Éclat Crew Presents… tomorrow night (Friday 31st May) at Acud Macht Neu. To be in with the chance of winning two tickets to the event, comment below or email your full name and the word ‘Ducks!’ to win(at)indieberlin.de.
by Luke Davis